Students, community leaders gather on diag for DACA march

Ann Arbor residents gather to defend DACA on the diag on Friday.

Ann Arbor residents gather to defend DACA on the diag on Friday. Buy this photo
Robert Buechler/Daily

 

Sunday, September 10, 2017 - 2:22pm

Students and community members marched Friday evening from the Diag to the School of Social Work building to voice opposition to the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. The recent move by the Trump administration dictates a dissolution of the program in six months unless Congress replaces or reinstates it.

Many students and community members spoke while the marchers were gathered in the Diag, including a DACA recipient who explained how he was able to find work through DACA. Other speakers shared their hope for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the future.

State Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, spoke at the event. Later, in an interview with the Daily, Rabhi talked about the importance of Congress acting to protect the undocumented immigrants currently benefitting from DACA.

“I think that there’s incredible momentum to do better than we have,” Rabhi said. “Obama made a great step in the right direction with the instituting of DACA, but we can do even better than that and that’s the potential that we have right now.”

Rabhi emphasized many of those affected by the change attend the University of Michigan and live in Ann Arbor.

“These are our fellow community members that are under attack right now,” Rabhi said. “Their rights are being stripped away from them and anytime someone’s rights are under attack, the sign of a true patriot is to stand up and fight for those rights and that’s what I’m doing today.”

Social Work student Catalina Rios helped organize the event in response to the announcement from the Trump Administration and to change the narrative of immigrants.

“I feel that a lot of people, they talk about making change but really don’t know how to do it or just say certain things that … criminalize other people, even without knowing so I think it’s crucial to educate other people,” Rios said.

Rios added that she hopes that Congress responds to the Trump Administration by putting in place a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“I personally don’t think that DACA was a solution for me … neither is the DREAM act because it also criminalizes our parents,” Rios said, referring to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.

LSA senior Theresa Beckley-Amaya came to the march to advocate for those affected by the decision. Beckley said a march of this nature shows the University campus stands up for what they believe and the rights of others.

“I heard about (the rally) through the School of Social Work and I’m frankly really enraged at Trump’s decision on DACA,” Beckley said. “I hope (Congress) actually does something. I don’t know what that would be, I don’t know what that looks like, I don’t know what that entails but at least something.”